Climate Change Resources

This section of the site provides quick access to case studies and helpful on-line social marketing resources for those who promote climate change mitigation and adaptation behaviours. We welcome suggestions for additional case studies and resources.

Latest News

Nov. 23, 2016 Six New Materials Added in this Topic Category in 2016
We've added five new resources and one new case study this past year. You can see the case studies in the left hand column below and the resources in the right hand column below..  Let us know what you think.
Nov. 11, 2015 New Materials from the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University

The Pew Research Center has published a new report that shows there is a global consensus that climate change is a significant challenge. Majorities in all 40 nations polled say it is a serious problem, and a global median of 54% consider it a very serious problem. Moreover, a median of 78% support the idea of their country limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, there are significant regional differences on the perception of the problems posed by global warming. And Americans and Chinese, whose economies are responsible for the greatest annual CO2 emissions, are among the least concerned.

Most Recent Climate Change Case Studies

Landmark Case Study King County In Motion  EnvironmentHealth

In Motion participants pledge to shift two drive-alone trips per week to transit, ridesharing, biking or walking. The program uses motivational interviewing, commitments, rewards, engaging materials and norm appeals tailored to each target community. It has been called into action during or in anticipation of major construction, transit restructures or new transit service such as light rail or bus rapid transit. Since creating In Motion in 2004, King County Metro Transit has applied a growing toolkit of community-based social marketing techniques to persuade about 23,000 Seattle-area travelers to drive less. Designated a Landmark case study in 2015.

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Cool California City Challenge  Environment

The Cool California Challenge is a state-wide competition between California cities engaging their residents in climate action. Participants earn points for tracking and reducing their electricity, natural gas and motor vehicle emissions and for simple one-time actions, like uploading photos and stories, inviting friends or taking a survey. Results from a quasi-experimental design suggest a 14% reduction in electricity use among program participants.

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Green Communities Canada’s Home Energy Retrofit Incentive and Home Visit Program  Environment

Making the housing stock more energy-efficient provides persistent and ongoing returns. However efforts to do so often run into obstacles that diminish program impacts. This program illustrates how to overcome many of these barriers, and how ongoing monitoring and evaluation can lead to program improvements over time. It’s also a great illustration of combining home visits with incentives for doing desired behaviours. Revised in September 2015.

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Landmark Case Study Power Smart Residential Behavioural Program  Environment

This program is a great example of applying a “loyalty group” approach to progressively engage participants in changing behaviours. Because electricity and electricity conservation tend to be a low priority for many British Columbians, BC Hydro has connected energy conservation to the things that people care about through an opt-in loyalty model and a focus on story-telling, co-creation, challenges and individualized feedback. Regular communications repeatedly drive participants back to their Members’ Tool Box, which serves as a ‘hub’. Ultimately, the product mix is designed to increase participant engagement levels on three dimensions: affiliation, (“this is who I am”), resonance (“this is right for me”) and enjoyment (“I like this”). Multi-year impact data.  Designated a Landmark case study in 2011.

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Landmark Case Study Opower’s Home Energy Report, Minnesota  Environment

This program is a great example of the use of ongoing individualized feedback and prompts, coupled with norm appeals. Opower helps individual utility companies to send customized home energy use feedback reports to their residential utility customers. The full-colour reports include a comparison with other similar households, offer tips and strategies to reduce energy use, and provide seasonal energy consumption information. A web portal offers personalized insights and tips, and tools for choosing an optimal energy rate plan. In addition, Opower offers utilities the opportunity to send text messages directly to customers to alert them when their energy consumption is high and offer ways to reduce it. Updated as of October, 2014.

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Boston’s Challenge for Sustainability  Environment

A Better City’s Challenge for Sustainability has engaged over 100 participating businesses and properties to develop and meet sustainability standards and practices, and to drive local innovation in energy efficiency. The program uses a combination of monthly information and networking meetings, Challenge Coordinators who provide technical and educational guidance one-on-one with participants, benchmarking, utility tracking, and goal setting.

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Landmark Case Study Stockholm Congestion Pricing  EnvironmentSafety

The Stockholm congestion charge is a tax levied on vehicles entering and exiting the inner city. After a seven-month trial, followed by a referendum, the charges were made permanent and the traffic reductions of 20% have held constant ever since. This case study features strong, ongoing impact data. It is a rare example of introducing then removing and then reintroducing an intervention. It speaks to the importance of timing referendums after rather than before trials or pilots, and to the dynamics of shifting public opinion. It also shows that congestion pricing can be popular, work well, and generate significant additional funds for municipalities. Designated a Landmark case study in 2013.

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Landmark Case Study Burlington’s Ice Rink Energy Competition  Environment

The City of Burlington's Ice Rink Energy Competition employs a low cost, easily replicable approach to significantly reduce energy consumption, associated greenhouse gases (GHG) and energy costs. A friendly competition to reduce energy at eight of the city's ice rinks helps change behaviours among staff and users, improves facility performance, and extends equipment life without sacrificing facility service levels or user satisfaction. Designated a Landmark case study in 2013.

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Landmark Case Study Class 5 Energy  Environment

This comprehensive, long-term approach combines education, training, behavior change and goal setting with progress tracking, recognition and continuous improvement to reduce energy use in schools, hospitals and other institutional settings.

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Cool Choices  Environment

Since 2010, Cool Choices has inspired employees to embrace sustainability through an innovative game model. Organizations in sectors as diverse as commercial construction, health care, manufacturing, U.S. primary and secondary schools, and law have had game participants save hundreds of thousands of dollars and avoid tons of pollution annually because of sustainable choices made in Cool Choices games. Post-game independent evaluations have found statistically significant savings in energy (median electrical household savings of 6%) as well as savings in water usage - with the vast majority of sustainable practices continuing a year later.

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Landmark Case Study HSBC Clean Air Achievers  EnvironmentHealth

CAC's HSBC Clean Air Achievers programs provides youth with a chance to meet high profile athletes and be inspired by personal messages to adopt healthier, more active and sustainable lifestyles. The program has dual goals of reducing air pollution and increasing physical activity levels via active transportation. Designated a Landmark case study in 2013. 

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Landmark Case Study Calgary’s Workshift  Environment

WORKshift is Calgary regional initiative to promote, educate and accelerate the adoption of telecommuting. WORKshift works with businesses to implement telework programs for their employees.

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Landmark Case Study ClimateSmart Home Service, Queensland, Australia  Environment

Once a resident signs up for Queensland’s ClimateSmart Home Service, a licensed electrician visits the home, installs a variety of energy-efficiency products, conducts an energy audit, provides recommendations, and leaves behind materials and prompts. The information collected is then used to create a customized plan that is sent to the homeowner approximately six weeks after the visit, with different audience segments receiving different messaging. A voluntary household energy challenge, wireless power monitors and an on-line portal help motivate and empower participants. ClimateSmart was designated a Landmark case study in 2011.

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Landmark Case Study Energy Smackdown Uses Game Play to Involve Community Members  Environment

The Energy Smackdown uses engaging game playing to involve community members in energy conservation, and television and webcasts to make visible the energy-saving efforts of teams of households. The Smackdown is organized into two broad challenges. In the household challenge, participants are evaluated based on their percent reduction in per person CO2 emissions as well as per person carbon footprint. For the team challenge, members of a community or organization work together to expand their impact and organize special challenge events that highlight key issues and raise awareness in the community. This program was designated as a Landmark (best practice) case study by a Tools of Change selection panel in 2010.

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Landmark Case Study Green Communities Active and Safe Routes to School (2008 on)  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This case study picks up from our previous one on the early years of Green Communities Canada's national Active and Safe Routes to School Program. It covers the launch of the "school travel planning" approach. Viewpoints are provided from the national, provincial, municipal and school levels. Designated a Landmark case study by a Tools of Change Peer Selection Panel in 2009. Updated in 2012.

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Most Recent Climate Change Resources

Communicating Effectively with the Centre-Right about Household Energy-Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technologies  Environment

With a continuing political polarisation around climate change and energy issues, there is an urgent need to reflect the views of centre-right citizens accurately and to build communications around their values. This report presents the findings of the first rigorous qualitative research in Britain to explore these attitudes in detail. Based on our findings, we recommend seven principles for holding a productive conversation with people of centre-right values:

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Engaging Teachers to Communicate Scientific Consensus on Climate Change and Other Topics  EnvironmentHealthSafety

When consensus about a risk or mitigating behavior is newly developed and/or not clearly understood, communicating that consensus through teachers / instructors can be critical. While this blog entry focuses on climate change, it may also apply to new understandings in many topic areas.

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Fostering Forest Conservation and Management among Woodland Owners  Environment

A summary of time-tested behavior-change theories and models, and lessons from social movements, that can be used to help foster forest conservation actions and a culture of sustainable forestry among woodland owners. More broadly, the findings are relevant to a range of programs promoting multiple, complicated or long term behavior changes.

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Program Impact Attribution  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This document provides a brief summary of options for assessing what portion of any measured behavior changes resulted from your program and what portion resulted from other influences. These options can also be used to attribute the affects of your program on a wide range of related variables such as resources used, pollutants released, accident rates and health status.

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Program Evaluation Methods; Measurement and Attribution of Program Results  EnvironmentHealthSafety

A good, detailed, freely accessible overview of program evaluation and attribution methods.

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Communicating Flood Risks in a Changing Climate,  Environment

This report identifies nine principles for communicating about flooding in a changing climate.

 
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Messages to Mobilise People of Faith on Climate Change  Environment

This report provides top-line conclusions about language about climate change that could mobilise activity across the world's 5 main faith groups: Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim.

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Framing Environmental Health  EnvironmentHealth

The toolkit models how to use the FrameWorks Institute's evidence-based recommendations for communicating with average Americans about these issues in ways that build public understanding and support.

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The Uncertainty Handbook  Environment

This handbooks outlines twelve practical and easy-to apply principles for smarter communication about climate change uncertainties. Read More »

Centre for Climate Change Communications  EnvironmentHealth

Includes a climate change communication primer for public health professionals, and reports based on ongoing national surveys of Americans' climate change and energy beliefs, attitudes, policy support and behavior

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Public Perceptions of the Health Consequences of Global Warming  EnvironmentHealth

This study suggests the need for a public health education campaign to help Americans understand the health risks of climate change.

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Communicating Climate Change with the European Centre-right  EnvironmentHealth

This is the first report on this theme written for a European audience.  It follows a 2013 report on communicating with a centre-right audiences in Britain. The approach taken is strongly grounded in the wider research into political values and framing and is intended to complement similar research in the US.

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Connecting on Climate: A Guide to Effective Climate Change Communication  EnvironmentHealth

This guide presents information on effective climate change communication in a digestible, actionable form to enable communicators to 'up their game' when engaging Americans on climate solutions of all types and scales.

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What's in a Name? Global Warming vs. Climate Change  EnvironmentHealth

This report provides results from three studies that collectively find that global warming and climate change are often not synonymous--they mean different things to different people--and activate different sets of beliefs, feelings, and behaviors, as well as different degrees of urgency about the need to respond.

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Americans' Knowledge of Climate Change  Environment

Of those Americans who think global warming is happening, nearly two in three (62%) say they are either extremely (30%) or very (32%) sure that it is. Three years ago, in May 2011, fewer (54%) were as sure. Also, Americans continue to be unaware of the extent of scientific consensus on climate change. Only one in ten Americans (12%) know that 90% or more scientists have concluded human- caused global warming is happening. More than twice as many Americans – about three in ten (28%) – think fewer than half of climate scientists have reached this conclusion.

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